University lecturers in Wales started their first of 14 days of action with picket lines at Cardiff, Bangor and Aberystwyth universities on Thursday. They were joining colleagues in 58 other universities in the UK striking against huge cuts to lecturers’ pensions by university bosses.
While vice-chancellors have voted themselves increases that will give them higher pay than the prime minister, university employers have changed the formula for calculating pension pay-outs, claiming that if there were a financial collapse then the pension fund could not afford to pay the pensions. This leaves some lecturers losing half their pensions and others will be £10,000 a year worse off.
The employers would have been shaken by the large numbers of lecturers out in support of the University and College Union (UCU) picket lines on Thursday morning joined by students and other trade unionists in support of the lecturers struggle. At Cardiff University a large rally heard speakers from UCU, Cardiff Trades Council and Cardiff Socialist Students bring solidarity and support.
One picket explained: “This is just the latest in a long list of problems we face, which is probably why there has been such strong support for the strike.”
Swansea University lecturers had voted by 88% to strike but were prevented by the Tory anti-union laws from taking action because they were just two members short of getting a 50% turnout. They are re-balloting and will no doubt spread the strike if employers do not retreat from this serious attack.
Socialist Students have distributed thousands of leaflets explaining why students should support lecturers and the majority of students do and called a meeting for the UCU to make their case for why they had to take action.